Mumbai: Former Commissioner of Mumbai Police, M N Singh, spoke about the city's turbulent times and his duty as the police chief to keep the law and order in check during the 1993 riots as he addressed the book launch event of 'Mumbai After Ayodhya' at the Press Club in the city.
Authored by Jitendra Dixit, west India editor of ABP news, the book illustrates how the city has changed in the three decades after the March 1993 serial blasts entangled in terms of communal harmony, gang wars, the rise and decline of the underworld, construction of skyscrapers and the 26/11 attacks. The 1993 serial blasts killed over 250 people and left over 1,000 injured. Prominent spots like the Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India building, Mumbai Airport and Zaveri Bazar were among those targeted.
Mr Singh extensively spoke about his active role in fighting the underworld and investigating the 1992 communal riots and the ensuing 1993 serial bomb blasts in the aftermath of the Babri demolition. He spoke of his key experiences during his stint as Mumbai Police Commissioner from May 5, 2000 to Dec 31, 2002.
He stressed that a culturally diverse city like Mumbai needs to have communal harmony for peace so that riots like 1993 don't repeat. He emphasised the importance of communal harmony as people migrate to Mumbai to earn a living and provide their families a better life. Peaceful coexistence is of utmost importance as one Mumbaikar helps another, he added.
Speaking about the underworld and gang violence, he told the attendees that the underworld received patronage not just from politicians, builders or individuals from the film industry but were supported by certain sects of society, too. “Builders and netas took favours from the underworld as they had a good grip and influence over several parts of the city. Dawood Ibrahim had relations with several stars of the film industry. He was often spotted with actors overseas watching cricket matches in Sharjah,” the former police chief said.
“To solve issues of communal hatred and violence we have to find a solution, it may be by clearing misunderstandings and involving community leaders. I would be interested in taking the initiative,” he said.
Reminiscing the 1990s, he described how crime was rampant through the city as shootings, gang wars and organised crime was at its peak. Every big metropolis like Mumbai will have some sort of organised crime running within its city limits, he underlined.
Lastly, Mr Singh said the situation in Mumbai has drastically improved as the city has not fallen prey to any terror attacks since 2011.
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